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Robert Johnson was born on this day in 1911. Watch this animated video for “Cross Road Blues.”
One thing is for certain — no Robert Johnson, no rock & roll.
MusicRadar asked blues artist Michael Messer to list the most essential acoustic blues albums. At the top of that list is Robert Johnson’s The Centennial Collection. Messer writes:
“This is the best remaster of the whole catalogue. When it comes to acoustic blues that’s related to rock ‘n’ roll – because there are so many strains – Johnson has to be the greatest. Seventy or 80 percent of his songs are classics that have been recorded hundreds of times. His guitar style is, simply, definitive. … It’s not a competition, but I believe he was the greatest acoustic blues player.”
Read more at MusicRadar.
In a new interview with The New York Times, Bob Dylan spoke about Robert Johnson:
“…What we used to call people of high character. Genuine, plenty talented and who knew themselves, weren’t swayed by anything from the outside. … So was Robert Johnson, even more so. Robert was one of the most inventive geniuses of all time. But he probably had no audience to speak of. He was so far ahead of his time that we still haven’t caught up with him. His status today couldn’t be any higher. Yet in his day, his songs must have confused people. It just goes to show you that great people follow their own path.”
Remembering The King of The Delta Blues, Robert Johnson – born on this day in 1911.
Legend has it Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his talent as a blues musician, but few would hear his music. He mysteriously died at age 27 and didn’t become famous during his lifetime. Even though he only recorded 29 songs, the royalties from his music are in the millions and the law firm which proved who was the rightful heir is still being paid for its services 20 years later.
… Today, Michael Johnson has gone to the Mississippi Supreme Court to appeal the royalty agreement his father struck with attorneys – a deal that paid the attorneys a percentage of Robert Johnson’s royalties for years.
… “To this day they’re still receiving 40 percent of the royalties,” Michael said. “That is not right.
“That contract shouldn’t last forever. It’s time for that to end.”
Michael also said he feels his father didn’t understand the contract with Kitchens and Ellis.
“My Daddy had an 8th-grade education,” Michael Johnson said. “He didn’t know what he was signing. He was a gravel truck driver.”
… The case has now been filed with the Mississippi Supreme Court, but Michael has reservations about that. Jim Kitchens, who was Claud’s attorney and had received contingency fees from the royalties, is a Justice in the court. Even with his recusal, Michael feels his association with the court could impact the decision.
“I want to get a fair shake in the court system about this case,” Michael said. “The outcome is going to affect our family tremendously.”
Read more at the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.